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Eating Animals: time to kick the buckets?

06 June, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

HOW can we as a species expect to survive (and thrive) if something so utterly rotten is at the core of our existence?

That is fundamentally the question asked in this excellent, timely, and spectacularly frightening documentary about how we produce food today.

This exposé of the meat industry shows how we treat other sentient beings we share this planet with, and it is almost beyond words disgusting. Director Christopher Quinn clearly shows how it is linked to the accelerating degradation of our earth and, individually, our bodies. It’s all done, of course, in the name of easy profits for the food producers – not the farmers.

Quinn takes the viewer on a journey, illustrating how our diets have changed down the centuries: he looks at the age of industrialisation, and what that has meant in terms of raising animals for food.

You may have seen the images of what really goes on in “farms”, abattoirs, meat production factories. This is hardly new – we were warned of this by Upton Sinclair in his book The Jungle, more than 100 years ago – but nothing can still prepare you for the shock of seeing how millions of animals are murdered every day to make a chicken nugget to poison our bodies with.

The film includes the whistleblowers who are trying to make us sit up and take notice – and instead of being lauded as public health heroes, as saviours of these poor creatures, are visited by the FBI.

We learn about the turkey – a clever, sociable animal, contrary to popular myth. Nowadays, they have been so genetically modified they cannot breed without artificial insemination. They have also had genes inserted to make them obese, so “farmers” can pay less for feed and because Americans have developed a taste for fat. If you were to measure the growth of a turkey with that of a human baby, a two-month-old would weigh more than 600 pounds.

We are shown what are called “pig lagoons” – odious bright pink lakes of what are described as a “marinade of faeces and urine from pork sheds,” as pigs are kept indoors and waste is simply sloshed into giant pits outside, which are then dumped in water courses, poisoning the earth.

We are also shown the interest ranged against farmers who want to do things differently, and told the story of how Kentucky Fried Chicken inventor Colonel Sanders had animal welfare at the heart of his company – until it was bought out by capitalists who only cared about a balance sheet and not the poor creatures destined for the plate.

Do not give me that nonsense about our green and pleasant land, and the farmer as the guardian of some rural pastoral that has deep roots in our psyche.

The meat industry is built on cruelty, profit, mass murder – and all to produce something that damages our earth and our bodies.

It also creates subconsciously a disconnect between us and other species, a dangerous idea of humans ruling over the planet, instead of sharing it with the other animals that create a bio-diverse world. It leads to the arrogance that has created climate breakdown, and means we as a species are on borrowed time. The meat industry is a cancer at the heart of our existence – watch this superb film and think hard about your personal responsibilities.

Watch this film and if you are not willing to quit eating meat, then at least make sure you can sleep easy by finding meat farmers for whom animal welfare is their primary objective.

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